Sunday, August 31, 2014

Happy Birthday, Aaron!

My sweetheart turned 37 today and he just keeps getting better and better. I love you, Aaron, and I'm so lucky to grow old together with you. Happy Birthday!

An Interview with the Birthday Boy:

1. How old are you? Thirty-seven.
2. What makes you happy? Lots of stuff. Too much to list.
3. What is your favorite thing to eat? Steak.
4. What is your favorite thing to do? Golf.
5. What are you really good at? Nothing.
6. Where is your favorite place to go? Home.
7. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Cookie-dough.
8. What is your favorite cereal? Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
9. What is the best part about being 37? Nothing.
10. What do you want to be when you grow up? Me. 
11. What is your favorite movie? Rudy.
12. Who is your best friend? You (me).
13. What is your goal for this year? To be healthy.
14. What do you want for your birthday? A relaxing day with my family.


Ben's opthamologist recommended glasses to help correct Ben's astigmatism and help make his vision less blurry, so Benny is sporting a pretty spiffy new pair of glasses! He's not wild about wearing them (we're hoping he'll get used to them soon), but he can be talked into wearing them for a few hours with the enticement of a couple M&Ms. I didn't think it was possible for this little boy to get any cuter, but I have to say, he looks pretty handsome in his new glasses.

Starting 5

 What you Can't See in This Picture:

- I took at least 40 pictures and not a single one was even semi-decent. I recreated the pose a second time, after school, and this was the best attempt. Getting five little boys to hold still, let alone look in the same direction and smile, is no small feat.
- I bribed Joey with two Starbursts and elicited smiles from the others by doing my, "sour face."
- Joey's left eye is slightly blackened from getting into my mascara earlier; he wouldn't hold still long enough for me to wipe all of it off.
- Hank and Max fought about who got the privilege of holding Rocky.
- Rocky is wearing jeans for the first time--getting big so fast!
- Besides sporting their cougar team pride with their BYU t-shirts, the boys are also rocking their new school shoes. Nothing but Nike's will do for these boys. They have to be reminded to change their underwear daily and they'll go to school with their shirts on backwards, but they have to have Nike's.
- These boys are my entire world. Crazy, stinky, and rowdy, they are mine and I love them to bits.

Back to School

It just doesn't feel right to send these three boys back to school in the middle of August. I'm not ready for summer to be over! In all sincerity, I had so much fun playing with these boys all summer long and was sad to send them off on their first day of school. Goodbye to lazy summer days full of spontaneous adventures. Goodbye to coming and going as we please. Hello to structure, routine, and homework. Hello to carpooling, early bedtimes, and packed lunches. Ready or not, here we come, school!


Not a big fan of the daily reading requirement or the mandatory 8:30 bedtime, otherwise Hank is pretty excited about entering 3rd grade. Hank makes friends easily, is a quick-learner, and is hard working. If he can settle down and focus enough to listen to his teacher, Hank will have another great year.


More the size of a 2nd grader and already reading pretty well, Kindergarten is going to be a breeze for Max. Max is a very conscientious student and takes great care with his penmanship and art projects. So far he's enjoying recess and PE the most, but he also likes center time and singing.


This little stud is ready to kill it at preschool this year! Thanks to his tutor and our favorite app on the ipad, Ben knows all his ABCs! He knows his days of the week, his months of the year, a few shapes, and counts to 20, more or less. I'm so proud of this little preschool smarty-pants!

I already miss these boys while they're away at school, but I'm excited to see all the great things they learn this year.

On the Move

My littlest babe is on the move! Rocky is crawling all over the place, scouring the floors for any bits and pieces to sneak into his mouth before I can fish them out, pulling up on anything he can find, and chasing behind his big brothers like a little puppy dog. I forgot how dangerous this stage can be--that little speed crawler has already climbed halfway up the stairs (and fallen back down) and pulled tipsy objects onto himself. My little monkey is definitely keeping me on my toes.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Beach Vacation

We have learned from experience that travelling with kids is a "trip" and travelling without kids is a "vacation." Usually, a "trip" is memorable, but often requires a "vacation" afterwards to recover fully from the exhaustion of caring for off-schedule, sleep-deprived, junk-food-fed kids. I am pleased to report, that we achieved the best of both worlds when we took Hank and Max with us on a vacation to California--we made memories together that I'll cherish for a lifetime and actually felt like the travel with just two was a total breeze!

The way our arrangements worked out, Aaron and Hank got a head start, leaving two days ahead of Max and I. I made sure Max didn't feel cheated by filling our two days at home with a trip to the farm and the trampoline place and a sleepover with me in my bed. When it was time for Max and I to join Aaron and Hank, Max was super excited. It just made me smile to get to see Max's excitement with the whole experience--from parking in the long term lot and riding the shuttle to the airport, to watching the airplanes take-off and land on the run way, to picking out snacks for the plane ride, to finally watching out the window as we took flight. I just soaked up the one-on-one time with Max and couldn't get enough of his enthusiasm.

We could get used to the high life vacationing at the Ritz Carlton with views like these:

Since I got to have Max all to myself before our vacation, I took Hank on a special one on one date while Aaron took Max on a dinner cruise. Max ate enough steak to make himself sick (but still had a great time!), while Hank and I visited Aunt Amy and cousin Jasper as a festival. Hank's favorite part was getting to throw his own cup on the pottery wheel. 

Hank was a great date!

With all the swimming we've done this summer, Hank and Max are pretty comfortable paddling around a pool, but this was their first chance to play in the ocean....and they LOVED it! So fun. Hank was pretty fearless about playing in the little waves crashing on the shore and riding his boogie board in the surf while Max was more interested in digging holes in the sand and racing the waves on the beach.

I feel a little guilty about leaving our little guys at home with Nana and Papa Grover, but I know they'll get their turn to make some special memories with Mom and Dad on a vacation, too. In the meantime, I just treasure my special time with Hank and Max.

Hank Aaron Jr.

I know I already posted once about our summer T-ball, but I left our this picture of Hank that was too cute not to add. Hank had a rough season last year and just couldn't seem to get the hang of connecting with the ball, so we almost didn't sign Hank up this year. I'm so glad we stuck with it--all our batting practice in the basement this winter really paid off! Hank did so well this season; he's a slugger!

the Zoo

The zoo is fascinating. I read books to the boys about bears and tigers and we put together puzzles with giraffes and elephants, but it really is incredible that in one round trip through the zoo grounds you can observe animals gathered from all over the world in real life. Heavenly Father must have a vivid imagination to create black and white striped zebras and two-fanged walruses and long-trunked elephants and horn-nosed rhinos and on and on.


Boo: visits to the eye doctor where we spend three hours in the waiting room!
Yay: getting to play with and cuddle this cutie pie.

Neighborhood Bash

Our neighborhood celebrated summer with a potluck hot dog dinner and a "drive-in" movie complete with cardboard box decorated "cars" for the kids. I'm so grateful that my kids have the opportunity to grow up in such a great neighborhood environment.

Best Friends

We are so fortunate to have such great friends living right next door to us...could we be any luckier to have next-door neighbors with triplet 8 year olds and twin 5 year olds? Hank and Max are endlessly entertained playing with their friends, and Ben and Joey get mothered and smothered by the neighbor girls.  Mostly, the gang spends the afternoon digging in the sandbox, riding bikes up and down the street, or playing board games. The other day, we decided to start a business venture and sold lemonade on the street corner. Man, the lemonade business is pretty cut-throat...would you believe there were two other groups selling lemonade on opposing street corners? Despite the stiff competition, these kids were excellent salesmen, flagging down cars and shaking their signs, and earned $20 (combined).

We also had a great time visiting Pioneer Park downtown with our neighbor friends. We played at the playground and splashed in the splash pad, then took a break for a picnic lunch. Afterwards we played an organized game of two-hand-touch football, and then waded through the creek. Such a fun afternoon with great friends!

Pioneer Day

A quote was shared in sacrament meeting, to the effect that the pioneers did not make such profound sacrifices so that we could drive fancy cars and enjoy shopping at strip malls, and that it is our responsibility to build upon their legacy. I do drive a comfortable car and I frequently shop at a strip mall, but I hope my pioneer ancestors would feel pleased with the way that I am carrying their legacy--building a personal testimony upon Christ, building a gospel-centered home, and building family traditions to celebrate and acknowledge our rich blessings. Our favorite pioneer tradition is a family firework display. Ben and Joey were thrilled with their Pop-Its, throwing them and marching all over the tiny firecrackers. Hank and Max really liked the snakes, smoke bombs, and ground flowers.